LGBT counseling in Atlanta offers a safe and welcoming place for members of the LGBT community. While substance use and mental health disorders can affect everyone, the LGBT community faces unique challenges surrounding these issues. They also encounter discrimination when seeking help.
As a result of discrimination, many members of the LGBT community live with untreated mental health conditions. This increases their risk of drug overdose and suicide compared to people who identify as heterosexual. That is why Buckhead Behavioral Health welcomes people from all groups and communities to our addiction and mental health treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia.
The LGBT Community, Mental Health, and Addiction
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), federally funded surveys that collect data on sexual orientation and gender identification have found that “sexual minorities have higher rates of substance misuse and substance use disorders (SUDs) than people who identify as heterosexual.” They also are more likely to experience mental illness than heterosexual individuals.
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Mental Health and Substance Abuse in the LGBT Community
The 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) collected data on the overall population (regardless of sexual orientation and gender identification). To draw comparisons, in July 2022, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) released additional information solely regarding the LGB (lesbian, gay, and bisexual) population.
The following are comparisons of mental health and substance abuse issues between the overall population and LGB adults (age 18+) in 2020:
- 50.2% of LGB adults had a mental health disorder (compared to 21.0% in the overall population)
- 23.1% of LGB adults had a co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder (compared to 6.7% in the overall population)
- 23.8% of LGB adults aged 18-25 had an alcohol use disorder (compared to 15.6% in the same age group of the overall population)
- 6.7% of LGB adults misused prescription opioids and/or heroin (compared to 3.6% in the overall population)
Increased Risk of Suicidality
Suicidality is also higher among LGB individuals, especially teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “In 2021, more than a quarter (26.3%) of high school students identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual reported attempting suicide in the prior 12 months. This rate was five times higher than the rate reported among heterosexual students (5.2%).”
Higher Rates of Violence
LBGT individuals face a greater risk of hostility and violence than heterosexual individuals. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) published the following statistics with data collected from 2017 to 2020 for individuals aged 16+:
- The rate of violent victimization among lesbian or gay persons was 43.5 per 1000 (more than twice the rate among straight persons: 19.0 per 1000)
- The rate of violent victimization among transgendered persons was 51.5 per 1000 (2.5 times higher than cisgender persons: 20.5 per 1000)
- Domestic violence among gay and lesbian persons was 10.3 per 1000 (over twice the rate among straight persons: 4.2 per 1000)
Domestic violence among bisexual persons was 32.3 per 1000 (8 times the rate among straight persons: 4.2 per 1000)
Increased Risk of HIV
The CDC states that “Of the 34,800 estimated new HIV infections in the US in 2019, 70% (24,500) were among gay and bisexual men.” Since injectable drug abuse also increases the risk of HIV, gay and bisexual men with untreated SUD who abuse injectable drugs, like heroin, are at an even higher risk of HIV infection.
However, members of the LGBT community face more barriers than others when seeking help. Thus, there is a need for specialized services to treat the LGBT community for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
The Need for LGBT Counseling in Atlanta
As mentioned above, rates of substance use, mental health, and other health issues are higher among the LGBT population than heterosexual individuals. Yet, an article from Health Services Research found that only “12.6 percent of mental health and 17.6 percent of substance abuse facilities reported LGBT‐specific programs.”
LGBT individuals need specialized services due to the unique challenges that they face. Among the challenges they face when seeking treatment are:
- The need to feel safe, welcomed, and accepted by both peers and staff
- Gender-affirming care that helps them navigate their sexual orientation and gender identity
- Trauma-informed care practices due to the higher rates of violence against LGBT individuals
- Dual-diagnosis treatment due to the high rates of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders
- Addiction specialists who understand the LGBT community to reduce the social stigma of being LGBT, as well as, correlated issues like addiction, mental illness, and HIV
Buckhead Behavioral Health provides specialized LGBT counseling in Atlanta to improve the lives of those in the LGBT community. We understand the needs of this community and offer support, care, and understanding to this underserved population.
How Does LGBT Counseling in Atlanta Help?
LGBT counseling helps by providing access to the same services available to the general population, such as detox, psychotherapy, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and holistic approaches. Oftentimes, LGBT persons face discrimination or a lack of services meant for them.
In addition, they might feel unsafe due to hostility toward them by staff or other people in treatment. Without a feeling of belonging and a sense of safety, LGBT persons will struggle to recover from mental health and substance use disorders.
At Buckhead Behavioral Health, our treatment team is trained in cultural competency and trauma-informed care practices. We understand that if any person feels unwelcome or unsafe, they won’t get the help they need. That is why we strive to create a safe and welcoming environment for everyone who enters our facility.
Addiction and Mental Health Services for the LGBT Community
We offer the following addiction and mental health services to address issues common among the LGBT community, including:
- Trauma therapy to address post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from higher rates of violence and hostility among LGBT individuals
- Family therapy to heal families that are often fractured due to family members not understanding or accepting their LGBT loved ones
- Psychiatry to treat mental illnesses, which are higher among LGBT individuals
- Drug and alcohol detox services help LGBT individuals go through withdrawal safely
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to treat alcohol and opioid use disorders, which occur more often in the LGBT community
- Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab for continuing support and connection in recovery from addiction
In addition, we offer a variety of therapeutic services and support for withdrawal symptoms so that our LGBT clients can create an individualized treatment plan suited to their needs. That way, our clients get the best care to prevent relapse, cope with mental health symptoms, and begin a life in recovery.
Find LGBT Mental Health and Addiction Counseling Today
At Buckhead Behavioral Health, we know that the LGBT community faces unique struggles and higher rates of mental health and substance use disorders than the general population. That is why we offer specialized services to meet the needs of LGBT persons. Our staff members provide a safe and welcoming treatment environment to everyone who enters our doors.
Visit our admissions page today to begin LGBT counseling in Atlanta, Georgia.